ANDERSONVILLE — Plans to bring a Trader Joe’s to Andersonville are coming into focus as the alderman weighs a rezoning to allow for the project.
A developer wants the city’s approval to redevelop the U.S. Bank at 5340 N. Clark St. into a combination Trader Joe’s and bank building. The project would replace the existing bank plus a home and parking lot just west of the building on Ashland Avenue.
In its place would be a nearly 30-foot-tall building that would hold a Trader Joe’s and a U.S. Bank, according to plans shared at a community meeting Wednesday.
More than 50 parking spaces would be available on the roof of the building, with an entrance and exit ramp accessible off Summerdale Avenue west of Clark Street.
Behind the building would be a drive-through ATM and parking for the bank. The area would be landscaped with trees, benches and walking paths, and there’d be bike parking, the development team said.
The project requires city approval for a drive-through ATM plus a zoning change for the residential property at 5339 N. Ashland Ave. that would be used for the ATM.
That city approval was the subject of a Wednesday meeting hosted by Ald. Andre Vasquez (40th) where neighbors sounded off on the possible benefits and pitfalls of the project.
Some neighbors said a Trader Joe’s will turn Andersonville into even more of a shopping destination, while others said the store could increase car congestion in a pedestrian-friendly area and possibly hurt mom-and-pop businesses.
Numerous neighbors asked the development team and Vasquez’s office about the development’s impact on traffic in the area. Some suggested traffic-calming measures should be taken on Clark Street, Summerdale Avenue and Ashland Avenue.
A traffic study for the development has been commissioned but has not been completed, said Jack George, attorney for developers Alan and Steven Schwartz.
Others said a Trader Joe’s could pose a threat to local shops that carry similar food and kitchen items.
“I’m concerned for Andale, City Olive, Uvae’s new cheese shop and Edgewater Produce,” a neighbor said in the community meet’s chat. “Not thrilled.”
Many neighbors are in favor of the store and said a Trader Joe’s would round out Clark Street’s offerings and bring in shoppers to nearby places.
“This will be an asset to the community, bringing more affordable grocery options and other traffic to support small businesses on Clark,” a resident said in the meeting.
Many neighborhoods have clamored for a Trader Joe’s, and the national grocer chain has looked at opening on the Far North Side before.
The strip mall on Broadway just north of Foster Avenue was slated to house a Trader Joe’s. But the company pulled out at the last minute, much to the dismay of neighbors, DNAinfo Chicago reported in 2014.
The company feels it would be a good fit in Andersonville, the development team said. A letter of intent to occupy the development is being negotiated should the project be approved, they said.
“Trader Joe’s has been trying to get here for a long time,” Steven Schwartz said.
Trader Joe’s would be open 8 a.m.-9 p.m. daily and would hire about 60 people upon opening.
Vasquez’s office is collecting neighbor feedback on the development proposal before deciding whether to approve the zoning request. Neighbors can fill out a feedback form here.
“We want to take all these questions into consideration,” Vasquez said.
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